Last few weeks I was searching for solution that allows me to reduce time of Magento database upgrade. In my case I had to upgrade very old Magento version to Magento CE 126.96.36.199 During my tests I found that database upgrade took around 6 hours. The reason was that I had very large database and of course there were a lot of database schema changes (e.g. removing a column of large table was taking ages). This meant that we could have at least 6 hours of down time during upgrade. This was a bit risky because we had limited time span and wanted to go live as soon as possible.
The the good news is that because of my research I managed to reduce database upgrade time from 6 hours to 2 hours! If you are impatient to try the solution just checkout Magento-Upgrade-Replay. I recommend also to read Troubleshooting section of this post.
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